Fernando de Szyszlo is one of the foremost artists to emerge from post-world war Latin America. Szyszlo's art hovers in the twilight between figuration and abstraction. His paintings evoke the still, monumental, power of Pre-Hispanic forms, while at the same time suggesting the dynamic, often violent, energies at their poetic and spiritual core. The darker energies of Szyszlo's art, are counterbalanced by his love of texture, color, and pattern. The tendency towards decoration is rooted in Szyszlo's appreciation of Pre-Hispanic textiles. Whatever the imagery of a particular painting, whether moving towards figuration or abstraction, or refusing to make the distinction, the drama under-pinning Szyszlo's painting is invariably centered in the tensions of physical and spiritual transformation, death and erotic ritual.
Szyszlo was born in Lima, Peru; his mother was Peruvian of Spanish-Indian descent, and his father a geographer from Poland. He lived in Paris and Florence from 1948 to 1955, and then returned to Peru. In 1962, he became a professor of art at Cornell University. In 1965 he became a visiting lecturer at Yale University. He first exhibited in 1947. His most recent museum exhibition was in 2005 at Palacio de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires.
Szyszlo has exhibited at many important venues worldwide, among them: the Venice Biennial; the São Paulo Biennial; the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Art Institute, Chicago; and Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City.